Recently, I watched 2012:Time For Change.  A basic synopsis of the movie is instead of 2012 being a type of dooms day where the earth is destroyed, it’s seen as a positive and beneficial shift in consciousness.  This change will inspire humans especially to re-connect with themselves and the world around them. Benefits of these changes are varied and far-reaching.  Anywhere from populations being able to grow their own food supply on their rooftop gardens to using hydrogen as a source of fuel instead of the very fought over petroleum we are currently using.

The film shows humans in the harried rat race.  Walking quickly, in downtown New York City.  Stressed and living in the next moments to come instead of the one their body is currently occupying.  Watching the bodily movements of the people, all the signs of stress were present: shallow breath, worry and scowls across their faces, hurried state of mind, and not much allowance for those around them, either co-workers or family and friends.

When watching those experiencing stress and living in that on a daily basis, I found myself asking, “Why wouldn’t we want to begin in an evolution and shift in conscious where re-connection brings with it beneficial changes – where resources are abundant and we have even more of an opportunity to let go of the worry, stress, fear and anger?”.

Then I realized this “shift” in consciousness could be as easy and close as our next Stress Relief Breath™.  The power to take a few or many deep breaths whenever we please to shift into a state of calm and centered-ness is with in all of us all of the time! How awesome is this?!

2012 has a good point.  It may very well be a time for change. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we were able to calm our bodies and minds down and address exactly what is happening in the moment rather than addressing the situation 10 steps ahead of what’s happening?

I say let’s begin and continue participating in this shift of consciousness.  Our bodies will be calmer.  Our minds will be calmer and we can begin to re-connect with those relationships that bring us the most joy, fulfillment, and happiness.  Including our relationship with life-sustaining Mother Earth.

Isabel is a member and facilitator for the No Stress Community. She established Holistic Heart Healing to provide emotional release work, yoga, massage, nutrition, and supplementation to help people experience optimum health, body, mind, and heart. Visit Holistic Heart Healing on the web and follow on Facebook for joy full inspiration healthful tips. 

Contact Information:
Isabel Fagoaga, Holistic Counselor
Phone: (760) 216-3507

We live out many roles as women and caretakers that involve their own degree of stress. Taking the time to care for ourselves and lessen the stress has an immense impact on our lives, and is a gift to those around us.  For these gifts of ease and joy to be experienced we need to choose to complete Stress Care™ in the moment. A recent, potentially stressful situation illustrated for me just how beneficial, simple, and important Stress Care is.

After a twelve-hour car ride to reach my mother, I arrived to the emergency room and was holding her 66 year-old hand. Her normally bright eyes and smiling face, now tear stained and contorted in pain.  She says, “Is there anything you can tell me to do for the pain?  Anything, I can’t take it anymore.” While enjoying gardening and weeding, Mom overworked her shoulder causing a nerve to be pinched and severe pain to take hold.

Hearing her pleading, my mind reacts with overwhelming stressful thoughts.  You may relate to some of these occurring for you in stressful situations: This can’t be good. How long is she going to be in pain? What the hell am I going to do now?  Do I move back to town?  How am I going to be able to support both of us? Why did she not take care of herself?  We wouldn’t be here if she had. Guilt, anxiety, and hopelessness begin to set in. Very little love and acceptance for my mother occurs at this moment.

This is where choice comes in.

Do I continue to feel the anxiety and the stressful thoughts? Continue to feel the stress systematically take over my body?  Feeling the jaw, neck, shoulders, begin to contract?

In this instance my body’s memory of Stress Care™ learned in the No Stress Foundation Training took over.  I began to inhale and exhale with a sigh. The simplicity and effect of this method of stress-relief is astounding. Body tension dissipates starting with the jaw, chest, belly.  My mind becomes slower, more able to focus on the moment. I realize my Mom was simply participating in something she enjoyed. There was no intention to cause guilt, anxiety, or stress to anyone.  This awareness brings acceptance and ease. Now, I was able to support  her through stress in her body and mind. The words came, “Mom, the next time you exhale, open your mouth and sigh.  Keep doing this, gently. Follow your own breath.”

Mom’s face softens. Brightness returned to the eyes. A grateful smile begins to appear.  Then the vocalization of her amazement, “Wow, it doesn’t hurt as much. It’s not so hard to sit here.”  She even cracks a tiny joke, “if I get any more relaxed the doctor will wonder why I came to the emergency room!” Relief washes over both of us.

As we both continue to breathe, it’s reinforced for me how simply and easily we can take care of ourselves and in turn help to ease stress in our loved ones.  Isn’t it worth every mother, father, uncle brother sister, aunt, grandmother, daughter taking the time to learn stress relief techniques? To me, this isn’t a question, it’s a need to be met with up most priority.

Isabel is a member and facilitator for the No Stress Community. She established Holistic Heart Healing to provide emotional release work, yoga, massage, nutrition, and supplementation to help people experience optimum health, body, mind, and heart. Visit Holistic Heart Healing on the web and follow on Facebook for joy full inspiration healthful tips. 

Contact Information:
Isabel Fagoaga, Holistic Counselor
Phone: (760) 216-3507

Stress Kills.

July 16, 2011

Author’s Note: In the previous blog entitled, “The Ripple Effect of Stress”, Jack McStressCase had just suffered a heart attack due to his lack of Stress Care™. Less than two months later, he suffered another one and died, leaving behind a seven year old daughter, and sadness in the lives of those who cared for him. He was 41 years old.

Here is a view from a fly on the wall the day of his funeral, at his parent’s house:

There was a quiet murmur throughout the home (you know that ‘just above a whisper’ voice that people tend to use at events such as these).  Suddenly – one of the voices got much louder…

“Stress KILLS.” It was Carolyn, former wife of Jack.  She had been quietly talking to Jack’s parents in the kitchen. Her voice could be heard throughout the house, with the wood flooring creating an acoustics of sorts.

The murmur got even quieter.  She angrily wiped a tear from her eye.

“Well…it killed Jack. IT DID. Whether anyone here wants to believe it, THAT’S what killed him. Not some…some heart attack!”

There were some gasps. Jack’s mother went to contest softly, “Carolyn…”

“NO, Delores, please – it’s true. I mean, let’s face it – the Stress killed more than Jack. It killed our marriage, It killed his friendships, It killed his career.  It killed his spirit.  His motivation. You even TOLD me it was killing YOUR relationship. And now it’s killed his daughter’s opportunity to ever, EVER know him. The Stress is killing me!!!

Now the room was dead silent. People were listening. The fly’s sensory receptors perked up.

“I LOVED HIM!” she yelled and then cried, “I still love him. He was my friend since we were 18! My BEST FRIEND. And he just goddamn DISAPPEARED – he LEFT US ALL! And why? For what? Money? To impress his boss? To get the sale? At what expense? At what SACRIFICE!?!?”

No one said a word. So Carolyn got louder…

“AT WHAT SACRIFICE??????” She yelled at the top of her lungs. The glassware vibrated.

Suddenly her voice dropped.  She closed her eyes and started talking out loud – not really to anyone – just out loud.

“Did you know that when we were Juniors in college, we were so broke that we would eat Ramen and use our change to grab a beer?” She laughed and kept her eyes closed as if she were there again, “Ha! We would literally go in trash cans and collect empty bottles and cans, return them for money, and then buy one beer and some fries to share at the pub down the street.” Carolyn smiled, as did others in the room.

“We were the poorest we’d ever been and he was satisfied. You know what he said to me one night, he said, “Carol – this is the happiest I’ve ever felt in my life. This is all I need.

More smiles.

“That was Jack! And then he started his new job, we got married…I got pregnant with Madelyn – and then, “ She paused and clenched her fists and took a deep breath, “And then…he started to get REAL Stressed.”

Her smile abruptly went away. All the muscles tightened in her face, and her mouth turned down as she said the word “Stressed.”

Smiles in the room turned to grimaces.

She opened her eyes suddenly and looked at his parents and, although speaking loudly, acted as if she were just talking to them.

“Did you know that he wasn’t even there for Madelyn’s birth?”

Delores gasped. Jack Sr’s eyes hit the floor and he gulped hard.

“That’s right. He lied to you. He lied to everyone. And we held the lie together. He didn’t make it to the hospital on time. HE NEVER MADE IT TO THE $%#% HOSPITAL! Why? WHY? Because he was so stressed out from work that he went out for a drink – for the THIRD TIME THAT WEEK – and was TOO DRUNK TO MAKE IT TO THE HOSPITAL!”

Some more gasps.

“I gave birth to Madelyn alone,” Carolyn whispered. “ALONE!” she screamed and hit the table.

There was a collective gasp.

“Oh Carolyn…” Delores started to cry.

Carolyn’s voice dropped and she stared off into the distance, “The saddest part of all of this is that was just par for the course by that time. Jack had been disengaged from me for months before that – not too long after he started at his new job. He would come home and just talk and talk about how stressed he was, then he’d disappear on the computer, or in front of the TV. Then sometimes he would just not come home because he had to “relieve” some stress with a beer or two, or five…he stopped caring…”

She continued…

“My Jack – the same Jack that would stay up for hours talking on the phone with a friend in need – stopped caring. About us, about himself. He stopped exercising completely! And gained over 20 pounds that year – the same Jack who played competitive soccer since he was 12.  He just stopped having fun. The Stress just killed his spirit and his passion for life.  It killed his passion for love. I tried and tried and tried to talk to him – Madelyn would beg him to play with her and try to make him laugh. Can you imagine? A three-year old feeling responsible to cheer a grown man up! It didn’t matter – he was somewhere else “dealing” with his Stress. Even when he was sitting in the same room, he was not there…[pause] Wow, it really killed him…the Stress killed him, it did.” She nodded affirmatively to herself, as if gaining true understanding of that for the first time.

And in case everyone in the house did not hear her, Carolyn screamed at the top of her lungs…


Jack’s father, who barely spoke since his son’s death, yelled even louder…

“NO!” he sobbed, “He is DEAD because he didn’t do a DAMN thing about it.”

If the fly could talk, it would say this:

Jack did not have to die. Neither did his relationships, his spirit, his motivation, his career, etc. All Jack needed to do was Take Care of His Stress.


The No Stress Foundation wants to empower you with the knowledge and tools for Stress Care™. Visit our website today for more information…

Not so fun fact: 1,000,000 employees are absent daily due to stress and stress-related conditions. Yes, daily.

Now, we could have more not so fun times calculating the financial loss of the companies who employ these individuals…instead let’s focus on the ripple effect that can be caused due to these “stress-related conditions”.

I’ll play out a little movie…and do it Tarantino style by starting at the end…

Jack McStressCase is 41. He has just suffered a Heart Attack and lay in the hospital, unsure of his future. A year prior to that he was diagnosed with Depression. Two years prior, his wife left him. Three to Four years prior he began to suffer insomnia and headaches. At the same time, his wife began to tell him she missed him, and was worried about him. Jack ignored her. Keep going backwards four to five years prior to the heart attack when he was on probation at work. Just prior to that, he was earning six figures as a Director in a successful biotech company in San Diego. Six years prior to getting that job is the “last time” Jack remembers feeling happy. The memory: Age 30, sitting at a burger joint, sharing a shake with his fiancee with some money they scraped together, excited about the opportunities that his new sales job will bring.

Flashback…right in between the time when his wife was trying to talk to him, and Jack was earning the big bucks. Here was a typical day in his life:

Jack lay awake in his king-sized bed listening to his alarm going off, alerting him that it is time to start his day. He is drowsy and his eyes are puffy from a restless night. He’s been up since 2am thinking about a big meeting he has with his boss. On his custom-made dresser he had shipped from Paris are two open bottles: (1) of aspirin to try to help his massive headache, and (2) some Nyquil. He isn’t sick, but he really wanted fall asleep and this is all that he had.

He looks to the left of him. His wife had slept in the spare bedroom. Also, she has already left the house to go for her morning walk in their upscale neighborhood with their three-year old daughter. He reminisces about when they used to do that together. Then he begins to stress about the big meeting. He starts to imagine what his boss is going to say and his head starts to hurt more. He is filled with dread. “You’ve been out a lot, Jack,” he heard him say, “You blew those last two sales, Jack.” He cringes. “Your team needs you, Jack.” He reaches for more aspirin.

He somehow gets himself to sit up. He’s slumped forward causing (more) tension in his neck and shoulders. His chest aches as he breathes shallowly. He doesn’t have the energy to shower, so he puts on the suit that he attempted to iron the night before. Normally, his wife would help him, but they had an argument when he came home after 10pm last night. He felt frustrated with her.

“Why shouldn’t I get to go out and have a beer once in a while!?” he had said to her.

“You’ve been out three of the last five nights, Jack. Every week! And you’ve come home drunk!” she said back, crying.

“Whatever! Get off my back! You have everything you need! Stop complaining!” he had shouted.

“I want YOU, dumbass!” she had shouted back before leaving the room. Jack cringes again and he starts to feel bad abou-

He doesn’t finish that thought. He’s back to thinking about the meeting with his boss. He looks in the mirror. He looks terrible, his suit is wrinkled, and his stomach suddenly feels achy. His wife walks past him, touches his arm, and smiles slightly. She’s reaching out – again. Jack frowns and doesn’t respond. He has too much on his mind. She retracts and tears fill up in her eyes. He knows he should say something, but instead says nothing. He has too much to do and can’t deal with this too, he thinks. His mind races with all the stressful things happening at work.

“What if I get fired today?” He begins to panic. His chest starts to tighten. He rubs his head and falls back into the bed. He can’t do it. He sends his boss a text. He’s calling in sick (for the fifth time this month), and reaches for the Nyquil. “They can’t fire me if I’m not there,” he smiles for the first time that morning, pleased with his ability to duck and dive his imagined demise. “Yeahhh, I’ll just avoid it!” he thinks as rubs his hands together with imagined joy.

The smile quickly turns to a frown as he starts to think about tomorrow and the reality of what is. He hears his daughter climb on the bed, excited to see him. “Not now, sweety.” he says and closes his eyes. She hugs his limp body.

He peeks open his eyes just in time to see his wife shake her head as she picks up their daughter. “Come on, honey, Daddy doesn’t feel well,” she says.

“Agaaaaaainnn?”, says the three-year old, “He’s ALWAYS sick. We NEVER have any fun!”

Jack takes another chug of the Nyquil and passes out.

Fast Forward and observe the Ripple Effect…

Jack eventually goes to work and is put on probation. This stresses him out. He begins to suffer migraines and insomnia. His work performance gets even worse. He gets grumpy and becomes more disengaged at home. This stresses him out, so he avoids even going there. He begins to drink a little more. His doctor gives him a prescription for sleeping pills and suggests he do something about his stress. Jack scoffs. His job is hanging by a thread, as is his relationship. He’s more stressed out, grumpy, and disengaged in all parts of his life. His wife expresses her disappointment and hurt. This stresses him out, so he engages less with her and more with alcohol and fast food. She and their daughter move out. They divorce. He drinks more and eats more. He gains weight. He’s now 30 pounds overweight. He loses his job, and their home, and moves into a studio apartment. He gets on antidepressants. He barely leaves the house and hasn’t exercised in years. He sees his daughter once in a while. His ex-wife can’t stand him. He feels guilty and this stresses him out. He drinks and eats more. He can’t remember the last time he belly-laughed. He avoids calls from friends. One day he is at home and begins to feel a tightness in his chest. He can’t breathe. He calls 911 just in time. And there he lies, Jack McStressCase – a “victim” of a heart attack at the tender young age of 41.

Between the health and relationship issues he now has work and money issues.

– or –

Between the health, work, and money issues, he now has relationship issues.

– or –

Between the money, work, and relationship issues, Jack now has health issues.

Hmmmmm….where did his stress begin?

It can be hard to tell where the initial seed of Stress got planted. Regardless – there is one thing that is very clear: Jack was STRESSED – and he did not take care of himself. It doesn’t matter where it began – unless he takes care of the stress there will be a ripple effect.

I began this blog with the not so fun fact about Stress and Absenteeism at Work. Why? Because Stress in the Workplace is the most common form of stress – and also the most relatable. Do an impromptu research study with people you know…ask them if they’ve ever been stressed at their job. I guarantee 99.9% of the time, the answer will be, “HECK, YES!”

So, what’s the lesson? Be Aware of – and Take Care of – your Stress…Hug it. Love it. Kiss it. Bless it. But for the love of all things wonderful – Don’t Ignore It.

If you’re looking to learn about Stress Care, visit We are starting two new groups in July that will teach you how to practice daily stress care!

Aimee Zakrewski Clark
No Stress Foundation
CEO and Founder